Indian Entrepreneurs Bet Big On Local Language Innovations

11th Jun 2012
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The trio from Jodhpur continues to innovate...

I had earlier written about MadRat Games and Aksharit, the Hindi Game which holds the distinction of being the first word game in Hindi, a language spoken by millions. There are moments when you feel that something is just right and I had this feeling when I had the first brief talk with Rajat over phone. Meet this trio from Jodhpur- Brothers Manuj and Rajat Dhariwal and Rajat's wife Madhumita who have made Bangalore their home now and are doing some mind-boggling work.

The MadRat Games office greeted me with a 1932 Buick, one of the only four left in the world. The beautiful calming feel continues as you move into the office which now houses 15 employees with 3 fulltime developers. There are consultants in other parts of the country to propel there business through three verticals:
  • Sale to the government
  • Retail & E-commerce
  • Digital

MadRat games started out as a Hindi Board game, Aksharit. The game was a huge hit with schools and 6,000 games have already been sold to the Chattisgarh government alone. 3000 schools (more than 25,000 games) have bought this game for their educational needs and expansion here is inevitable.

 

Apart from different versions of Aksharit in other languages & age groups, MadRat also has an extremely engaging Science based game, My Toy Factory which is a more of a DIY game for kids. The game has become a hot sell in retail stores  and the Toy Factory brand will soon be rolled out for children in wider age brackets (and hopefully for adults too). The manufacturing & distribution of these games have been ramped up and are now available not only in most of the retail stores across India but also through e-commerce outlets like flipkart, infibeamamazon etc.

The road ahead is very exciting as Madrat has gone Digital and will be aggressive here. The creativity spawning office winds into a corridor lined by people focused on their systems making something awe-inspiring.

 


How will MadRat give Indian women from the 35-45 age bracket on Facebook something to root for?

Step in WordMatki. Facebook has taken the world by storm and it no longer just a place for friends and people from the younger age group. Everyone is on facebook. Everyone. Children, the early adopters, teenagers and young adults because it is mainly for them, parents to keep an eye on what they’re doing and the grandparents are baffled by what Facebook is; everyone is there for a reason. There is a huge segment of hindi speaking women who come online but find nothing suitable for them. Wordmatki, a game which has seen very good traction from a pilot done in Jodhpur might just change this. The game is currently on the Google web store and will be soon ported on to Facebook. The game already has about 5000 users without a hint of publicity. The neighbourhood aunty is soon to find her calling on Facebook (better send her a link and keep her engaged if you don’t want her to comment on your photos).

A Good Deed

I was about to take the trio’s leave when the mention about their brilliant new work with Apple came up. Autism is a very sensitive topic and a rather neglected topic in India. An autistic kid is very vulnerable and needs a lot of support for wholesome development. Surprisingly as it may seem, the iPad is being seen as the perfect instrument for autistic kids to communicate as it is very intuitive. There are three major difficulties which an autistic kid faces:

  • Motor skills like pointing
  • Verbal Ability
  • Incapability to type

The iPad can help in all three aspects and MadRat has recognized this. In association with Professor Matthew Belmonte from MIT & Dr Pratibha Karanth (Director, Com Deall Autism Centre) , Rajat and Manuj are developing apps which will help these kids. The pilot for this are in progress at the Com Deall autism centre in Bangalore. Action in this direction is still in progress but is commendable nonetheless.

We will be closely in touch with folks at Madrat to bring you more news. Know more about them here.

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